TrueHeartWork | psychological
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psychological Tag

Hometown Glory

“My sister’s not talking to me again,” lamented Maggie, who comes from a family that handles “hot potato” issues by abrupt withdrawal, rigidly polarized role-playing, vast, frozen lakes of silence. Behind closed doors, shuttered windows, or on the altar of talk shows we enact archetypal patterns. For most of us, though, family bonds flourish in adversity, survive ruptures, reincarnate in the comfort of shared history and the cohesion of blood ties. For others, feuds fester for generations; anger poisons the food at the dinner table.

 As we grow into adulthood, it is within our family relationships that we are challenged to set the bar high for our personal growth. Our interactions with our parents and siblings ask that we draw from our creative Higher Self to break the cycle of habitual role playing, to short circuit destructive behaviour. We may need to be counterintuitive to breach the walls of a heavily guarded family secret. To ask questions that inspire thought and heart connection, rather than ignite reactivity. To validate and empathise rather than judge or blame. To choose not to react to behaviour that baffles or appears insensitive or cruel, in the knowledge that it rises from an ancient riverbed of pain. Sometimes it is the news of an accident, an affair, a splintering divorce or lingering illness that opens padlocked hearts, draws us together to deal with a family crisis bonded by our blood. Often it means dismounting from our high horse, bowing our heads to our hearts. Asking ourselves, “do you prefer that you be right, or happy?” (A Course in Miracles)

Like a flock of starlings, families have a murmuration, a rhythmic dance of energy that is passed on from generation to generation. Family therapists see “the identified patient”, the disturbed child or adolescent, who comes bearing the symptoms of the psychic life of the family.

Astrology describes a different approach to the standard psychological view. Our birth charts depict our perceptions of our parents, the unconscious conflicts they bring into the family home, family fate… present in the symbolism of our life journey. There is an old adage “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.”  Our horoscopes suggest we certainly do choose our family. Our father’s drinking, his covert affairs, the inconsistent or unavailable mother, our sister’s anger, our brother’s depression, is already innate, depicted in the birth chart. We are predisposed, or “fated” to experience our actual parents and the archetypal parents through inner images, our own filters. We may perceive our father as being rejecting, distant. Frequently our actual father will behave towards us in a way that will be rejecting and distant, despite himself. Our own behaviour and conscious or unconscious feelings will elicit a cold and distant response from this father figure who may have other attributes that are perceived very differently by our siblings.   Though the protagonists in the family drama are easy to identify, family complexes are enduring. Salvador Minuchin speaks of a family “system” to which the individual must adapt. Our challenge, our growth comes from knowing that our family members mirror what we disown in ourselves.  Only we can choose to break free of the tyranny of repetitive knee-jerk response to stressors, the old agreements, toxic dynamics and outworn resentments, to try on new behaviour.

Freedom from our suffering comes from taking back our projections, one by one. As Bryon Katie says succinctly, “Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them”.

Families are temples for spiritual growth. We elect the curriculum, and set our own pace to do the work. When things get painful we can choose to cut ties with those who trigger our tantrum-throwing inner two year old. To diminish and dilute painful contact to an occasional well-mannered Hallmark greeting card or a one-line text message. To allow the misunderstandings, miscommunications, to stretch and strain into years of silence.  Or we can value ourselves and our family of origin enough to stand in our own solid, flexible sense of Self. To take responsibility for our own lives, pull back our judgements, and open our hearts to incredible Love. That is Power.

The uniquely magnificent Adele, sings out her soul-sound: Hometown Glory

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Nothing Compares

Nothing compares to the passion, pain, the alchemy of unrequited love. The obsessive love of an extraordinary relationship may quench our soul’s thirst for drama and intensity. It may be the conduit for the fantasy and the creative Muse that is lacking from the soft comfort of our daily lives. When soul meets soul across time and space, this is no aberration, no psychological projection, and no insane fantasy.

In the realm of the soul, falling in love with someone we see everyday at the office, connect with on Facebook, or meet by “chance” at the video store, is beyond the crassness of words, the literalism of psychology. It is a process of wonderous self-discovery. Each relationship that touches our soul leads us into dialogue with the Divine.  “The fiery moments of a passionate experience are moments of wholeness and totality,” Anais Nin says. We may smugly moralise about obsessive attractions, narcissistic impulses, selfish behaviour, or in psychological parlance, talk about “withdrawing projections,” as we find the qualities that draw us to adore the Beloved, are of course, within ourselves. All very white picket fence, manicured lawn.  Pleasantville.  Nothing compares to the white hot passion of erotic obsession. Nothing compares to the Phoenix Love that leads us into a deeper, more soulful life. What we feel in our hearts, in our bodies, cannot be captured by cliches, emblamed with words.

Erotic love is not to be demeaned as merely a projection for our unlived life, but  celebrated as  an Angel of Awakening to the Countenance of our boundless Imagination. Our soul hungers for the Beloved, and our imagination lures us into the fathomless ocean of desire embodied in the flesh.  The symbolism of astrological transits from the outer planets to personal ones often suggest that passionate obsessions are not aberrations to be caged or cauterised. They are the wings that carry us to a life of more connection, to an acceptance of Who we are. W.H Auden writes powerfully of the crooked heart in each one of us that we must confront when the firebird of passionate love blazes through the dark depths of our psyche: “O stand, stand at the window as the tears scald and start; you shall love your crooked neighbour with your crooked heart.”

Many of us are now experiencing a sense of living on the edge of a world on the brink of great change.  Like two tectonic plates, Pluto in earthy Capricorn squares off against Uranus in fiery Aries, a crucible of heated, irrevocable change in our lives, in society, in the way we embrace the urge towards authenticity.  The emergence of the new always coincides with the breakdown of the old, so be awake to the whispers, the coincidences, the power of attraction, the wild song of Passion in whatever form it appears in your life these coming months.

I watched The Bridges of Madison County (again) and cried (again) for Francesca and Robert, these middle-aged soul mates. I cried for the choice Francesca made to shackle her desire for Robert Kincaid to duty and responsibility. Throughout history, men and women have made heart-wrenching choices to honour duty above the authentic call of their soul. So many of us have been raised in family awash with the tears of unspoken secrets. Lovers kept hidden, passion doused by fear, authenticity shamed into submission. Says John O’Donahue, “your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself.”

As Neptune swims into the deep waters of Pisces in February 2012, will we be willing to be still and listen to the passionate pieces of ourselves that call to us through music, poetry, the whisper of the wind? As we loosen the bonds of reason, will our souls ignite with delight in our Beloved who may be Clark Kent, Superman or Superwoman? Our  liquid light diamon that urges us to open our hearts, and sing our song.

What is your Passion, what calls you today to celebrate the Authentic You? “Passion is part of Real Life’s package – we were created by Love, for love, to love. If we’re unsure of our passions we must continue excavating until we rediscover them, for it we don’t give outward expression to our passions in little ways every day, we will eventually experience self-immolation – the spontaneous combustion of our souls,” says Sarah Ban Beathnach.

 http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2cdyy_sinead-o-connor-nothing-compares-2_music   Sinead O’ Connor

 

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